Eaker's fast start
The last time Guy Eaker fished the Bassmaster Classic was 1992. Now, 18 years later, the 70-year-old has started his final season on the Elite Series with a bang. With two checks cashed on the West Coast swing, including a third-place finish on Clear Lake, Eaker is having a blast.
"I am a shallow, murky water guy to begin with," Eaker said. "I went out and tried the swimbait, but I'm not a swimbait guy. I figured the fish in that silty water would be the first to move up."
He was right. Between Eaker and Bill Lowen, hundreds of pounds of bass were brought in from that one small backwater slough. The fishing was so good, Eaker looks forward to coming back some day: he knows right where he'd fish.
"I love fishing in California, I just don't like the 3,000-mile drive," Eaker said. "If I ever come back, it won't be in a truck and boat. I'll fly and they can bring me a boat."
As for the rest of the year, it sets up well for Eaker.
"I like all the lakes we're going to," Eaker said. "I've never fished the Arkansas River in Oklahoma, but I'm a river angler."
Skeet saves best for last
Skeet Reese busted the day's biggest bag, 25 pounds, 1 ounce, to move from 11th up to fifth and leaves the California swing with the lead in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
"I look at the West Coast swing and my goal was two top-10s," Reese said. "You know, we are in everyone else's backyards most of the time, so it's good to come to mine every couple of years."
His Day Four strategy centered around throwing a swimbait, he just adjusted by moving out deeper.
"I saw some fish positioned yesterday, so today I just fished that swimbait more offshore," Reese said. "The fish were also staged back in canals more. I had an opportunity for a 27 to 28 pounds today, but being 15 pounds back, I didn't think I had the chance to do it."
Reese started off this season eerily similar to his 2007 TTBAOY campaign, when he came to the West Coast and had a second- and fourth-place finish.
Rookie dreams big
Elite Series rookie Bradley Roy got his season started off right with an eighth-place finish on Clear Lake. He entered the day in fifth, which meant an ESPN cameraman would follow him for the day.
"It was different at first but after you get into the swing of things, you kind of forget about it," Roy said.
Unfortunately for Roy, the final day didn't get off to the start he hoped, as the hitch, a prevalent bait source on Clear Lake, didn't move up into his area. Each of the past three days, the hitch would move in and trigger the bass to bite.
"I was very disappointed with today," Roy said. "I wanted to catch 24 to 25 pounds to make a run at it. I don't know if bait didn't move up because of the cloud cover."
Either way, an eighth-place finish and the corresponding check in his second tournament has given him momentum and confidence for the rest of the year.
"If I don't see anything else this season, I want to see Guy Eaker qualify for the Classic."
Skeet Reese, referring to the 70-year-old Eaker's great start to the season
"I believe I did set a record. I think that's the smallest limit I've ever weighed on Clear Lake."
"I had a dream of being a pro angler and they helped make it possible."
Rookie Bradley Roy, referring to his sponsors and family support
"I'm not really good with a swimbait and I think that's what you have to do to win here."
"Every day I had to let a 5-pounder go and today I had to let three 5-pounders go. If I lose by a pound, I'm going to puke all over the stage."
Bill Lowen, on California law that forces anglers to release fish hooked outside the mouth